The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has confirmed today that the amount of money committed to tackling the Capital’s air quality crisis will be more than doubled, from £425m to £875m, over the next five years.
The Mayor is proposing a range of far-reaching programmes to tackle the threat to health from poor air, enhancing the quality of life across the Capital. This includes:
- Launching the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The Mayor is seeking views of Londoners on plans to introduce ULEZ early (from 2019), extending it to the North and South Circulars for all vehicles, and London-wide for lorries, coaches and buses potentially from 2019
- Consulting on the Emissions Surcharge (the ‘T-Charge), which will remove older polluting vehicles from central London, involving £22m of direct investment
- Introducing five Low Emission Neighbourhoods, spanning eight boroughs and involving a range of local businesses, with the Mayor and TfL contributing £5m. In addition, the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund will continue and provide £9m to take targeted action to tackle some of the worst pollution hotspots across London
The full ULEZ package, including all associated measures such as rapid charging points, will see £610m of investment overall. As part of this, the Mayor has challenged TfL to be bold and act fast in greening its own fleet. London’s buses will be transformed in the coming years with:
- The implementation of at least 12 Low Emission Bus Zones – the first two going live on Putney High Street in February next year, with the next one following in Brixton and Streatham in October 2017
- The phasing out of diesel-only buses and a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero-emission double decker buses from 2018
- TfL committing to meeting the ULEZ standards for double decker buses a year earlier than previously planned, so that the 3,100 double-decker buses operating in the zone will be Euro VI hybrid in 2019. All 300 single-decker buses operating in central London will be zero emission by 2020
The Mayor would like to see Government match his ambition and introduce a national diesel scrappage scheme, implement a 21st century Clean Air Act, reform Vehicle Exercise Duty – making it less attractive to buy polluting cars, and give London the additional funding and powers it needs.
The full press release is available here. The consultation on new proposals to improve air quality is available here, and closes 18 December.